Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Psalm 62:8

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Selah.
(NASB)


The author of this Psalm has reminded himself, he has pleaded with himself, and now he is calling out to those around him. He is letting the people know that God is trustworthy. You can pour your heart out to Him, and it will not return void, for He is a God who cares, and is a refuge for us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Psalm 62:7

On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

(NASB)


He is our salvation, but He is also our glory. We have nothing to glory in. If there is anything good, it is because of God's work in us. Our glory rests in Christ.

Do you have something about yourself which you are proud of? Don't be. If there is anything in you or about you that is worthy of glory, it is because of Christ.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Psalm 62:6

He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

(NASB)


In verse 2 He makes a comment about not being greatly shaken, or exceedingly shaken. Here in verse 6 the Psalmist adds, I shall not be moved at all. It is a slight difference in the original, but it definitely shows a progression. His trust builds as he is putting his hope in the true stronhold.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Psalm 62:5

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

(NASB)

Waiting in silence for God only, (or as it says in the NIV, finding rest in God alone,) is restated here, this time almost as a command to the soul. It is almost as if the author is reminding himself, "Your only hope is in God! The only place that you can go to find peace is in His strongholds! Why are you seeking other things? Why are you idolizing things that can't satisfy? Seek God and God alone!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Psalm 62:4

They fully intend to topple him
     from his lofty place;
     they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
     but in their hearts they curse.
Selah

(NIV)


As the Psalmist wrote these words, he had in mind those who were out to get him, to bring him down. You may not have any people who are wanting to do that, but many times we have the lusts in our own hearts that are aiming at the same end.

The Bible says that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Many times our own hearts are lying to us. The inner self is seeking to meet its own needs. It is telling us the wrong things.

Maybe it is telling you that some particular thing isn't actually wrong, when you know it is. Maybe your heart is telling you that you simply can't do something, you are not worthy of service to the Lord, when you know that is a false humility to disguise your fear of man or your laziness.

Whatever is trying to topple you down... seek the strong refuge of Christ. Allow His words of truth to penetrate your deceptive heart.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Psalm 62:3

How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him downĂ‚—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
(NIV)

Psalm 62 is one of my favorite Psalms. I have read it many times. When I used to read it, I would skim over this verse and the others like it in this passage. They didn't really seem to apply to me because I didn't really have anyone trying to topple me down.

As I have grown older, these verses have taken on meaning for me. I may not be in some position of leadership where there are people trying to destroy me or my reputation, but I have definitely felt like there were things in my life that were assaulting me. And I have most definitely been a leaning wall and a tottering fence. By myself I have not been a strong tower.

I also used to think of other leaders as those strong towers, but they are not. If there is anyone in Christian leadership who has maintained his strength, it is because he is resting firmly in the strongholds of Jesus Christ. This is a good lesson to learn, it gives you the right kind of confidence, and the right type of strength.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Psalm 62:2

He only is my rock and my salvation,
My (D)stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

(NASB)


Here again we can see that salvation is found in God alone. I believe that this is one of the points that the psalmist is trying to emphasize in this particular psalm. We cannot seek our salvation in anything else. We also cannot seek our salvation in any combination of God with something else. He is a jealous God, who will not share worship.

But He is such a great salvation. He will not share, because He made us and knows that divided worship won't work. He is a rock and a fortress, when it is He alone. We will not be toppled down as long as we are in Him.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Psalm 62:1

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.

(NIV)


There is a huge, massive truth in this verse. It is a truth about the very nature of man. It is a truth about the key to a happy, fulfilled existence.

In this passage, the word soul is the hebrew word nephesh, which is not referring to the immortal soul, it is referring to "...self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, or passion..." This part of the man will find peace in God alone.

As humans though we seek to find peace in everything imaginable, in every created thing. Peace and happiness will elude us as long as we seek it in these temporary things. True peace will only be found in the creator. The only one that is worthy of our passions, appetites, thoughts, emotions, etc. is God Himself!

God knows this, so he has told us this time and time again. He commands it in the ten commandments, "...You shall have no other gods before me." Jesus tells us that the summary of the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament) is to "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." These commands were not meant to control and bind us, but to liberate us to a free and happy existence.

Lay aside all of those other gods that you are seeking after, and look to the only one that can give your soul peace. Your salvation from those other things is in Him.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hebrews 11:40

God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
(NIV)


The idea is here that the faith from before combined with the faith afterwords, makes a perfect picture. Together with them the circle of faith is completed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hebrews 11:39

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
(NIV)


This great testimony to those who chose to live their lives by faith, is for us to read. We can see here that they were commended for their faith, a faith that was never fulfilled. It never received what it was hoping for, it believed without seeing.

Our faith is much the same. We have God's Word, but we do not have Him here with us. We are asked to believe, without seeing.

May your faith be the substance and the evidence of the promise. May you truly believe today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hebrews 11:32-38

And what more shall I say?

I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised;

who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;

whose weakness was turned to strength;

and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again.

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.

They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.

They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—

the world was not worthy of them.

They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.


Even though I try to do a verse a day, I could not seperate these verses. It is such a profound statement of true faith. I would like to encourage you to just read through this passage a couple of times. All the while, asking God to impact your life with these testimonies of faith.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hebrews 11:31

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
(NIV)

God is so amazing. Here we have a woman who had been a prostitute, and she has made it into this Hall of Faith. She is also mentioned in the lineage of Jesus.

We shouldn't be surprised at this, though. We serve a God who saves, a God who changes lives. We serve a God who, I believe, enjoys taking the muck and the mire of this world and using it to bring glory to his name. No one ever needs to worry about where they have been. God is bigger than any sinful choices that we have made, and the blood of Christ can cover all sins!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hebrews 11:30

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
(NIV)


Marching around that city would have taken a great act of faith. The act of a group of that size, acting as one, in faith, was amazing. This kind of thing doesn't happen very often, and it is well deserving of the Hall of Faith.

Are you part of a group? Is there anything that you are needing to accomplish that would require this kind of faith?

Then, march together. Believe that God will do what He has promised.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hebrews 11:29

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
(NIV)


Most assuredly one of the highlights for the Children of Israel during their exodus, is this event. There are so many times that they fall into other things like idolatry, murmuring, complaining, fear, more murmuring, disobedience, etc. Their journey to the promised land is marred by so many bad choices.

...like many of us.

I can remember as a child hearing about the Israelites traveling in the wilderness and thinking how they were such slow learners. I mean, how could they watch a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night lead them, and then turn around and start complaining that God wasn't going to take care of them. I used to think that was ridiculous.

At least I used to think that.

I know that our own lives are very marred by wrong choices as well, but as I read this passage, I was struck by the thought of how God has remembered their faith. The faith that got them out of Egypt is added to this "hall of faith" even though... or maybe, in spite of some of the other bad decisions they made later.

We know that it is by grace, through faith that you are saved. Rest assured that when you have gone down the wrong path, when you have followed the way of the Children of Israel and begun to murmur and complain; remember that your faith will be remembered. Our great high priest, Jesus Christ, is working continually; interceding for us. He is reminding God of our faith, and of his death that paid the price for the sins that we have committed.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hebrews 11:28

By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
(NIV)


God had made a promise. He had promised that if they put the blood on the door posts, then they would be saved from death. Were they trusting in the blood? No. The blood did not have any magical powers that would repel angels of death. This is not some formula that needs to be followed.

They were putting their faith in the promises of God. They were trusting in who God is. Our God keeps His word. His promises are true.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hebrews 11:27

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
(NIV)


Oh, he knew that the king would be mad, but that didn't stop him. There was another player in this scenario that was blatantly evident to Moses. It was God whom he feared.

History is full of people who did not fear an earthly king. People who stood opposed, not because of a political concern, but for the sake of Christ. People who stood even when death was evident.

In your life today, do not fear the kings, fear the ONE TRUE KING! Honor Him above all else. Don't be afraid of what the people of eart can do.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hebrews 11:26

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
(NIV)


I find this verse interesting because of the mention of Christ. The writer of Hebrews is making this amazing connection between Moses, choosing to be identified with the people of God, and this shared disgrace with Christ.

There are only two sides. You can be on the side of Christ, on the side of His people, on the side of what is right, or you can align yourself with the world. There are no in-betweens, no third sides.

Look ahead for your reward. Don't put your treasure in the things of this world, for where your treasure is, there will your heart also be.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hebrews 11:24-25

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.
(NIV)


Moses had the chance to align himself with the rich and the famous. He had the opportunity to really make it in this world. To be the son of Pharaoh's daughter, the possibilities could have seemed endless.

The world wants to paint that picture for us. A place that is endless in possibility. But Moses knew that the pleasures of sin only last a season. He knew that to truly have endless possibility, it would require the alignment with the people of God, so that is exactly what he did.

How did he know to do this? How did he know that he couldn't continue on with pharoah? The answer to that is Faith. It was faith that brought sight to this man. It is faith that will allow you to see clearly in your decision making process.

Some other thoughts about this passage at this post.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hebrews 11:23

By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
(NIV)


My first thought when I read this was, "Well, what parent doesn't think that?" Most parents think that their child is no ordinary child those first three months. I know that I still think of my two boys as extraordinary. I know that the creator God has designed them in a unique way. I know that they have talents that have been given to them to serve the King.

I may not get the chance to see my son stand toe to toe with a pharaoh of Egypt or call down plagues, but I do think that I will get the chance to see them serve their purpose.

I also want to point out that Moses' parents hid him for those three months. They didn't flaunt him, the chose a course of action that was very practical. Some would have you think that if it isn't flamboyant and take unnecessary risks, then it isn't faith. According to this verse, that isn't true. Moses' parents acted in faith, but they also used the brains that God had given them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hebrews 11:22

By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
(NIV)


Joseph held to the promises of God. He knew that the Israelites would not stay in Egypt. He knew that eventually they would leave. When he spoke of it, he spoke of something that would happen, not something that could happen. He knew this with such assurety that he even told them to take his bones with them.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hebrews 11:21

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
(NIV)


Jacob, the deceiver, had changed over time. No longer is he trying to work everything out himself. Instead he is fully dependent on the God of his father and his grandfather.

Now, in Egypt, he blesses Joseph's sons. He wants to pass the promise down, so that they might live by faith. He worships God, not laying down, because Egypt is not his home. He leans on the top of his staff, ready to go.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hebrews 11:20

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
(NIV)


Isaac had not forgotten the promise. He spoke of the future of his sons by faith. He believed that God would fulfill his promises, even though the promise had not come true yet.

I can remember as a child, thinking to myself about this promise. Here Abraham had been promised that his offspring would be numbered like the stars, then he only had one true son. After him Isaac, also a recipient of this same promise only has two sons, and only one of them is recipient of the promise. I can remember thinking to myself how difficult that would be for them to really believe that. Nearly three generations go by and there is still only one person that is recipient to the promise. If it had been me, I would be seriously questioning the process. How are we going to fulfill this promise if we can't get more than one guy?!

God's timing is perfect though. Now we can see the fulfillment of that promise. We can understand it to its fullest. The forefathers of faith only saw it from a distance, but they still believed.

O Lord, help me to believe today. I have so much more than they did. I know so much more of your promises than they ever knew. Help me to have the faith of Abraham and Isaac.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hebrews 11:17-19

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
(NIV)


Here we see again Abraham's great faith. He believed God's promise, no matter what else came along, no matter what else God would tell him to do; Abraham was going to stand firm in the promise. He knew that what God said -- He did.

The story of Abraham taking his son to the mountain to offer as a sacrifice, has been told for ages. It has almost become the key example of faith and obedience, which go hand in hand. You cannot have faith without obedience. James puts it this way, "...faith without works is dead, being alone."

Abraham was dedicated to obedience to God. Abraham was also a father that was so full of faith, that he staked the very life of his son, whom he loved, on that faith. His belief in who God was, was paramount in his life.